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First overnight cook and my fire went out!!! Start another one and keep going or call it a day?

I read all of the post about cleaning the egg prior to starting the fire. All the ask was cleaned out and the firebox was filled with BGE lump. 

Two 7.5lb pork butts went on the egg at 9:45pm. Dome temp was right at 280.

I checked again at 11:30pm. Dome temp was unchanged.

I checked again at 1:30am. Dome temp was unchanged. 

Unfortunately, I never checked the temp of the meat as I figured the grill was going to go for a loooooong time. 

My alarm went off at 3:30am and I figured, "what could possibly go wrong" and my lazy ass rolled over back to sleep. 

Woke up at 6:30, checked the egg. the Temp read 0!!!

I take the butts off and the center of the fire cooked all the way down to the bottom but none of the outside lump engaged in the fire. Ugh. 

The temp of the pork is 120. 

Sooooooo sometime between 2am and 6am the fire went out. The butts were on the egg for approximately four hours at perfect dome temp and another 4 at an unknown dome temp. 

I have read a number of posts about the "danger zone" and I don't think these butts ever made it out of the danger zone considering the short length of time they were actually on the egg before the fire went out. I am not interested in getting a house full of people sick, but I am also not too happy about switching this afternoon's party to "bring your own delicious meat". 

I was already planning on purchasing a fancy shmancy temperature control unit, and this just reinforces that decision. 

Any input on the dreaded "center burn"?

Anyone else "save" an overnight burn gone wrong?

Is it too early to start drinking?
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Comments

  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,436
    That's a tough call. I would probably put them back on but would hate to recommend that and then it not turn out well.
    Another option would be to scrap those and start fresh with a turbo butt. It you started soon you would have it ready for lunch.
    Good luck.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,974
    Scrap and turbo butt. TURBO BUTTS · Hot'n fast, 350 for 3 hours to internal to around 160, then wrap in foil and 2 more hours to 195 and then let it rest for an hour or so wrapped in towels in a ice chest. Falls apart and oh so good! Have fun! · Be sure you only get a 7lb butt or so . Note: both times on the foil wrap is not required. Nor is the butt box.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, just added a Mini Max 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015 http://saladoeggheadgathering.blogspot.com

  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,220
    Never to early to drink. Load that fire box up, light it and run that sucker at about 300 if you need to wrap to push through the stall. I wouldn't think twice about the danger zone, a lot of factors to make it go bad need to happen.
  • bigguy136bigguy136 Posts: 865
    Not to get off topic much but..... What brand of lump did you use? Sounds like something I want to stay away from.

    Big Lake, Minnesota

    Large BGE, Stokers, Adjustable Rig

  • I have only used the Big Green Egg lump so far. I should have taken a pic of the fire (or lack thereof) when I found it this morning. There was a perfect 12 inch-ish diameter circle with no lump at all, meanwhile there was several inches of lump all the way around the egg. 

    As far as the butts go, I decided to scrap it and start over using the turbo technique. The meat is cheap and I just didn't want to risk it, meanwhile my wife is providing a lot of "constructive criticism" now that she knows that the sandwiches will be done a few hours later than expected. 

    Oh well, live and learn. 
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 5,339
    @chicagomike-my wife is providing a lot of "constructive criticism" Welcome to the forum and the cult.  Some of us refer to "wife" as SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) while others seem to have dodged that particular behavior pattern.  Regardless., the BGE is a continuous learning experience so enjoy :)
    Louisville
  • Dyal_SCDyal_SC Posts: 1,891
    I'm smoking a turbo butt today myself. Good luck!
    2014 Co-Wing King
  • Dyal_SC said:
    I'm smoking a turbo butt today myself. Good luck!
    Nice, I am trying to do two 7.5 lb butts via the turbo method. Already had the egg up to 280 so I opened the vents a bit and the meat has been on the grill for an hour at 350. I never thought about 40-140 x 4 prior to this morning so now I am very interested to see how long it take the butt to get up to 140 at 350. 

    I told everyone that dinner should be ready by 5-6pm instead of the orginal plan of 2. No big deal, and a much better alternative than serving a biology experiment. 

    Instead of dumping the first two I brought them inside and threw them in the convection oven at 250. Ill send them over to the mom-in-law tomorrow and see what happens. Kidding. 
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,483
    Your first butts are more than likely ok, but I agree with your plan to not serve them to guests. Not cool to make guests sick, besides never being allowed to forget it... Ever. I would finish cooking the first two and keep for personal consumption.


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • Mickey said:
    Scrap and turbo butt. TURBO BUTTS · Hot'n fast, 350 for 3 hours to internal to around 160, then wrap in foil and 2 more hours to 195 and then let it rest for an hour or so wrapped in towels in a ice chest. Falls apart and oh so good! Have fun! · Be sure you only get a 7lb butt or so . Note: both times on the foil wrap is not required. Nor is the butt box.
    Curious, I understand the concept of wrapping ribs in foil but what is the purpose of doing it with butt? There is so much fat in this thing, I can't imagine it needs additional moisture/steam to help tenderize.
  • Dyal_SCDyal_SC Posts: 1,891
    I like your plan with the mother in law! LOL

    Foiling helps fight against the plateau. Just like sweating helps the human body cool off, when the meat starts dripping, you will notice the internal temp will plateau and even drop. Foiling will help it cook faster and keep the bark from drying out.
    2014 Co-Wing King
  • Thanks, I just read an article about the plateau. No normal person really needs to know this much stuff about meat. Obviously none of us are normal...

  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,436
    I think turbo butts have the potential of drying out a little if cooked at 350 the entire time. Not saying they definitively would but foil rules out that possibility...at least in my mind.
  • Any cook will be faster when wrapped. Long or short cook, you can always accelerate the cook time by wrapping. The heat and steam does not dissipate as described above. Like a pressure cooker kinda.
  • I am a little concerned, the two butts have been on the grill at 350 now for almost three hours (this is using a thermometer that I have cross checked and it indicates slightly low) and the internal isn't even at 140 yet. I am hoping they rise up to 165 sooner rather than later so I can wrap and relax a little bit. 
  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,436
    You can go ahead and wrap them if it will make you feel better. You will only sacrifice some of the bark.
  • Dyal_SCDyal_SC Posts: 1,891
    Sounds like you are on the right track. Foiling it now won't hurt anything. Just less bark is all. You pick up plenty of smoke during the first few hours, so the flavor will be there regardless. Started mine at 11:30 est... Keeping it right around 325 deg f. It was 154 internal just then when I checked it.
    2014 Co-Wing King
  • After almost five hours I hit 160 internal so I wrapped them. These have the bone in them, unlike my first two so I am really looking forward to eating them.....in three or four hours
  • so what alarm went off at 330? just an alarm for you to check egg? obviously not some sort of temp alarm cause i hope you wouldnt have ignored that.  

    What i do, and is easy and much cheaper than a temp controller, is us a maverick Et 73 with a meat probe and a temp grate level prob.  Done many overnighters and only had to help the egg a few times.  I set my high temp on like 290 and low around 210 and let it do what ever it wants between that usually around 240 is were it appears my egg is happy.  I either awake to my phone alarm, meat is at 190 alarm or the temp dipped alarm.  

    Just my 2 cents.  Cant go wrong with a BBQ guru either tho!
    Good luck!


    _______________________________________________

    LBGE & SBGE (big momma and pat)
  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 2,637
    I plan to cook a butt on Tuesday . For turbo butt @mickey said 350 degrees. I assume this is dome temp. Any idea what the maverick should read at the grid? Thanks

    ___________________________________

     

     LBGE,SBGE Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,507
    The straight down burn is pretty common. Either light your egg in three spots or rake the burning lump across the stuff that isn't lit when it gets going

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • If you already have a dual probe thermo, a partyQ is an affordable way to accomplish what you want. You only really sacrifice the ramp mode which will bring your pit temp down to meet your target meat temp and therefore, if your ccokmgets done early it will hold at target and not overcook the meat. Theoretically. It is common in all ceramic cookers to experience what I have heard called "the black hole". I do not chalk this up to the brand of fuel. It can happen on low temp cooks. The controller will solve this for overnighters.
  • Well that was a learning experience, to say the least. 

    I actually did finish the two "suspect"  butts in my regular convection oven and I really did give them to the mother in law (not as punishment, and I gave her the full disclaimer). Meanwhile I finished two more butts via the turbo method. 

    Couple observations...

    There was a huge difference in the bark. The ones that were on the egg longer had a very dark and thick bark, the turbos didn't have much at all. I read that the longer process created a thicker bark but the difference was rather surprising.

    I had two butts with the bone in and two without the bone. There was a big difference in the "ease" of handling and prep. I won't buy a boneless butt again. 

    The flavor of the two that i didn't f'up was incredible. I had a group over and the reviews were very very good. I pulled one apart and left it alone, pulled the other and mixed it with some great bbq sauce. The sandwiches included a thin layer of cole slaw for extra crunch. I was too exhausted from cooking and answering the same question (why did your dumb ass cook four butts?) too take any pics. 

    I think that everyone should start the "low and slow" learning curve with a pork butt. I plan on doing a brisket and finally my favorite cut of meat, the ribeye roast, but I am glad I made the rookie mistake with $2 per pound animal vs a $20 per pound animal. 

    Goodnight!

  • My first pork butt was an over night cook and because I wasn't really sure how all this stuff worked, my fire went out somtime during the night. I'd gone to bed with the internal temp at 110 and when I woke up it was 80 degrees or something like that.  I figured might as well keep cooking it....it took forever and the final cook time was 24 hours.!!!!! I thought it was going to be a piece of Jerky or something like that after that long of a cook...However, it just goes to show what kind of grill this Big Green Egg is...meat fell off the bone and it tasted awesome!!!!!!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,135
    just so you understand the 4 hour rule for next time, its not the internal temp of the meat, its geared to a raw butt sitting on the counter at in a house of 40 to 140 degrees inside. just raw meat, not meat covered in salt, not meat in a smoker full of smoke. my opinion, put in oven for the relight, then back on egg.
  • fairchasefairchase Posts: 192
    Maybe I'm missing something , but I don't see how a temperature controller could prevent the black hole effect.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,135
    fairchase said:
    Maybe I'm missing something , but I don't see how a temperature controller could prevent the black hole effect.
    it doesnt, center burn can happen with or without a controler
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,283
    chicagomike said:
    Couple observations...

    There was a huge difference in the bark. The ones that were on the egg longer had a very dark and thick bark, the turbos didn't have much at all. I read that the longer process created a thicker bark but the difference was rather surprising.

    I had two butts with the bone in and two without the bone. There was a big difference in the "ease" of handling and prep. I won't buy a boneless butt again. 

    So far, my limited experiments w. turbo method also indicates the bark is not as good as that made w. a long cook.

    Bone in also seems better to me. The bone seems to get the heat into the center of the butt a little faster. Also, a bone-in butt has no risk of interior contamination, unless it is injected.

    I don't think the "suspect" butts were very suspect.  There has been lots of discussion over the years about the safety of food left in an Egg where the fire goes out. I'd suggest you look up as much info as you can. The issue will remain very complex, but removing as much uncertainty as possible makes decisions a lot easier.

    FWIW, there has been at least 1 report over the past few years from someone with an automated blower system also having a fire go out from a straight down burn. So, that's something an Egger will always have to keep a watch on.
  • Well, I am in the middle of my first butt.  Got the coals all set, got the placesetter in with feet up, got a pan in there (actually one I use for Mad Max turkey) with some liquid (and sitting on BGE feet), got the grate on, and got the butt on a "V rack" on top of all that... (I do have pics, but cannot post them now)... 
    I could not get the darn dome temp above 275 or 300 (and that was with bottom and top vents wide open)... 
    Put the butt on at 10:30 am, checked it at 12:30 pm and the internal temp was 140.  I just checked it at 2:00 and the internal temp was 180 (crap)... so I wrapped it in foil and it is back on the BGE with the vents in my "normal" 350 temp range... I hope I did not turn my first butt into a football (hey - it is Superbowl Sunday)... 
    Seriously - how do I get the temp in the dome to either 1) come up to 350 or 2) read accurately with all of that stuff in there?

    Hammer
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 785
    Generally you want to stabilize the temperature with the egg empty, then it is just a matter of faith.

    Gerhard
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